The road to WrestleMania continues on tonight's SmackDown from the FTX Arena in Miami, Florida.
Ronda Rousey makes her SmackDown in-ring debut when she goes one-on-one with Sonya Deville tonight. Last week, Charlotte Flair and Deville attacked Rousey by injuring her knee, but she fought them off.
Two title matches are also set for tonight. Sami Zayn will put his Intercontinental Championship on the line against Ricochet, while The Viking Raiders will challenge The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team titles.
Last week, Zayn claimed he'd face all challengers. Johnny Knoxville interrupted and accepted his challenge, but Zayn turned him down. Zayn pretended to leave but then viciously attacked Knoxville.
Ricochet approached Zayn backstage later that night and issued his challenge, which Zayn accepted.
The Usos vs. Viking Raiders was originally supposed to happen at Elimination Chamber last month, but The Usos injured The Viking Raiders before they got to the ring.
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They started with a series of short promos similar to the old Saturday Night's Main Event opening. They've done this type of opening once or twice before. It's a nice change from the predictable opening with the long-talking segment.
Paul Heyman announced that Universal Champion Roman Reigns makes an appearance tonight so the fans can acknowledge him later.
Ronda Rousey discussed her first match on SmackDown tonight and promised to defeat Deville. Deville responded that she would give Rousey her first-ever loss on SmackDown.
The Viking Raiders pledged to win the tag team titles. The Usos pretended to be afraid but then vowed to defeat the Raiders.
Ricochet praised Sami Zayn, but he's still going to beat him for the title. Zayn mocked Ricochet's high flying and guaranteed he'd retain his title. Zayn then made his way to the ring.
They recapped Sami Zayn attacking Johnny Knoxville last week.
Ricochet defeated Sami Zayn to win the Intercontinental Championship (9:25)
Ricochet and Zayn had a great match and hot opener. The fans popped big for the title change.
Ricochet rolled up Zayn at the bell for a near fall. He followed up with a standing dropkick. He attempted a springboard clothesline, but Zayn avoided it. He rocked Ricochet with a clothesline to take over.
Zayn then slowed the pace down, but Ricochet fought back. They ended up fighting on the apron. Ricochet went for a superkick, but Zayn caught his leg and hit a half-nelson suplex.
Back from the break, Ricochet did a slingshot flip into a hurricanrana, but Zayn countered into a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall.
Ricochet fought back and hit a moonsault for another close near fall. He followed up with a space-flying tiger drop to a huge reaction from the fans.
Ricochet climbed to the top, but Zayn cut him off. Zayn was firmly in control when Johnny Knoxville's music started to play. Knoxville walked out and distracted Zayn. Ricochet took advantage and caught Zayn with an hurricanrana for the win.
Michael Cole and Pat McAfee discussed the line-up tonight. Cole turned his attention to McAfee's interview with Vince McMahon.
They showed highlights from the Pat McAfee Show, including McMahon's announcement that he's inducting Undertaker into the Hall of Fame and offering McAfee a WrestleMania match.
They showed Mr. McMahon's office backstage. Cole speculated that they might find out McAfee's WrestleMania opponent next.
Austin Theory-Pat McAfee Segment
This was a good segment setting up McAfee's WrestleMania match. McAfee was good in his role and got a good reaction from the fans.
Austin Theory made his way to the ring and claimed McMahon tricked McAfee yesterday. He said that McMahon wants to see someone shut McAfee's mouth at WrestleMania.
Theory and McAfee went face-to-face at the commentary table. Theory announced that he's McAfee's WrestleMania opponent. He then slapped McAfee in the face and knocked off his headset.
Theory walked off and took a selfie. McAfee was furious and jumped on the table. He acted like he didn't know Theory and blamed Cole. McAfee got a big reaction from the crowd.
Naomi (w/Sasha Banks) defeated Carmella (w/Zelina Vega) (2:10)
Naomi and Carmella had a fine match.
The bell rang and Carmella jumped out of the ring to put on her mask. Naomi kicked Carmella in the side of the head when she tried re-enter. Naomi climbed to the top rope, but Carmella recovered and cut her off.
Carmella slowed the pace down, but Naomi fought back. She rocked Carmella with a kick to head for a near fall. Carmella briefly gained control but Naomi recovered.
Vega jumped on the apron, but Banks pulled her off and hit the Meteora against the stairs. Naomi regained control and hit the split-legged moonsault for the win.
In the back, Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss played poker with a bunch of their friends. Corbin mocked Moss for having a weak hand. He bragged about his accomplishments at WrestleMania.
Corbin made fun of Drew McIntyre, and Moss did a bad impression. They watched McIntyre make his entrance on a nearby TV.
Drew McIntyre defeated Jinder Mahal (w/Shanky)(2:07)
McIntyre and Mahal had a fine match that was kept short.
Mahal scored an early near fall and slowed the pace down with a chin lock. McIntyre fought back and hit a belly-to-belly suplex to take over. He followed up with a second suplex and a neck breaker.
Shanky jumped on the apron, but McIntyre knocked him off. Mahal tried to take advantage and went for the Khallas. McIntyre broke free with the Glasgow kiss. He then hit the Claymore for the win.
After the match, Kayla Braxton interviewed McIntyre in the ring. He's not worried about Corbin and Moss. He promised to end Happy Corbin's undefeated streak at WrestleMania.
Corbin, Moss, and his friends watched McIntyre's match and interview. Moss tried to make a joke, but Cobin was worried about McIntyre.
They recapped the Roman Reigns-Brock Lesnar contract signing from last week.
Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura started to make their entrance when The Usos suddenly attacked them. They beat down Nakamura and Boogs and posed. Cole and McAfee were confused and didn't understand The Usos' motivation.
Roman Reigns music started to play and Cole and McAfee understood that Reigns was ready to talk. The Universal Champion, Paul Heyman, and The Usos slowly made their way to the ring.
Roman Reigns Segment
This was a good segment. Reigns gave another firey promo.
Reigns got a mixed reaction at first, but then the fans broke into a loud "Roman" chant. Reigns took the mic and demanded that Miami acknowledge him.
Reigns noted he defends his title tomorrow night in Madison Square Garden, as does Lesnar. Reigns promised to defeat whoever stands in his way tomorrow.
Reigns claimed some people don't even want Lesnar to make it to WrestleMania. He added that he wants Lesnar to make it to Dallas to hand him the WWE title. Reigns wondered if they should give the fans a spoiler tonight.
Reigns then promised to beat Lesnar at WrestleMania 38 and hold the Universal and WWE titles over his head as $5 million worth of fireworks goes off. He guaranteed that Lesnar would acknowledge him.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos defeated The Viking Raiders (8:21)
The Usos and Viking Raiders had a good hard-hitting and fast-paced match.
Erik threw The Usos out of the ring, and Ivar hit a cannonball off the apron. Ivar then hit a flying splash on Jimmy for a close near fall. The Viking Raiders went for the Viking Experience, but Jey made the save.
The heels took over and isolated Erik on their side of the ring. The Usos beat Erik around ringside and threw him over the barricade.
Back from the break, Ivar threw Jey and Erik caught him. They then hit a springboard kick/German suplex combo. Jey fought back and tagged in Jimmy. He went for the splash, but Erik got his knees up. The Viking Raiders hit the Viking Experience on Jimmy, but Jey broke up the pin attempt.
The Viking Raiders went for the springboard/German suplex combo again, but Jimmy pulled Ivar out of the ring. Jey and Erik then traded pin attempts. The finish came when The Usos hit the 1D on Erik to retain the titles.
Big E (w/Kofi Kingston) vs. Sheamus (w/Ridge Holland)
The match didn't end up happening and turned into an angle instead.
They showed New Day driving around on Big E's ATV backstage. New Day drove the ATV to the ring as well.
They recapped Sheamus and Holland confronting New Day last week.
Big E and Sheamus faced off in the ring. Kofi Kingston jumped on the ATV and started playing "New Day Rocks" on the horn. Holland grabbed a chair and hit Kingston from behind. He then attacked the ATV with the chair as well.
Sheamus jumped Big E in the ring, and the heels drove off on the ATV to end the segment.
During the commercial break, Sheamus and Holland destroyed the ATV with sledgehammers in the parking lot. Cole stressed that Kingston bought the ATV for Big E as a birthday gift last week.
They recapped Ricochet beating Sami Zayn and Johnny Knoxville's appearance.
In the back, Kayla Braxton interviewed Knoxville. Knoxville noted he put his body through crazy situations and isn't afraid of Zayn. He accepted Zayn's WrestleMania challenge.
Happy Corbin and his friends were playing poker still when Drew McIntyre entered and put his sword through the dartboard.
Ronda Rousey defeated Sonya Deville (3:15)
They kept the match short, but it was more about showcasing Rousey. Rousey looked good, and the fans were solidly behind her.
Before the match, Deville yelled at referee Charles Robinson and reminded him that she's his boss.
Rousey got an epic introduction running down her accomplishments. She came out wearing a knee brace.
SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair joined McAfee and Cole on commentary. However, she distracted Rousey before sitting down. Deville took advantage and hit a chop block on Rousey's injured knee.
Deville followed up with a jumping knee and slowed the pace down with a chin lock. The fans broke into a loud "Ronda" chant.
Rousey fought back and choked Deville on the ropes. She rocked Deville with a running knee on the apron. She followed up with a jumping knee in the ring.
Rousey fired up and backed Deville in the corner with rights and lefts. She then hit Piper's Pit and locked on the armbar for the win.
After the match, Rousey challenged Flair to get in the ring. Flair got in the ring, but Rousey locked on the ankle lock, and Flair tapped out. Throughout the match, Flair claimed that Rousey's a one-trick pony because she only has the armbar submission. Cole noted the ankle lock proves Rousey's not a one-trick pony.
Next Week: Big E & Kofi Kingston take on Sheamus & Ridge Holland. Plus, Sasha Banks goes one-on-one with Zelina Vega.